1972/73: Part of the upstart World Hockey Association, the Winnipeg Jets made new right away as they signed Chicago Black Hawks star Bobby Hull to a contract that included a then unprecedented $1 million signing bonus. However, when the Jets first took the ice on October 12th in New York against the Raiders the Jets were without Hull who was in court battling his former team over his new contract. The Jets would win that first game nonetheless 6-4. Three days later they would make their home debut losing to the Alberta Oilers 5-2. Eventually things would come together for Winnipeg as Bobby Hull won his court battle and joined the Jets 15 games into the season. With Hull leading the way, capturing the WHA’s first MVP award, while scoring 51 goals the Jets won the Western Division with a solid 43-31-4 record. In the playoffs the Jets would continue to cruise beating the Minnesota Fighting Saints in five games and the Houston Aeros in four straight games to reach the AVCO Cup Finals. However, with the WHA’s first championship on the line the Jets would run out of gas as they were beaten by the New England Whalers in five games.
1973/74: After losing in the first ever AVCO Cup Finals the Jets struggle posting a mediocre 34-39-5 record while landing in fourth place. In the playoff the Jests would make a quick exit as they are swept in four straight games by the eventual Champion Houston Aeros.
1974/75: Led by Anders Hedberg, Ulf Nilsson and Lars-Erik Sjoberg the Jets become innovators in professional hockey by scouting European talent signing six Scandinavian players, in a time when most NHL teams only signed Canadian and American born players while talking down the European style of play. The addition of Hedeberg and Nilsson would help Bobby Hull who scored 50 goals in 50 games on the way to another MVP award, with 77 goals on the season which was more the single season record set by Phil Esposito in the NHL. However, the Jets would fall short of the playoffs as they finished in third place with a 38-35-5 record.
1975/76: The Jets came flying out of the gate as Bobby Hull, Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson all top the 100-point mark on the season on the way to capturing the Canadian Division with a solid record of 52-27-2. After a first round bye the Jets would dominate the Edmonton Oilers sweeping them in four straight games to reach the semifinals, where they would lasso the Calgary Cowboys in five games. In the AVCO Cup Finals the Jets would again dominate sweeping the two time defending Champion Houston Aeros led by Gordie Howe in four straight games to claim their first ever WHA Championship, closing the series out with a dominating 9-1 win on May 27th.
1976/77: Still flying high from their AVCO Cup Championship land in second place in the Western Division with a record of 46-32-2, despite injuries limiting Bobby Hull to just 34 games. In the playoffs the Jets would be tested right away, as they need seven games to beat the San Diego Mariners in a hard fought series in which the home team won all seven games. In the semifinals the Jets would fly past the Houston Aeros in six games. However, with the Jets would fall just short of repeating as AVCO Cup Champions as they fell to the Quebec Nordiques in a hard fought seven game series.
1977/78: The Jets were an offensive powerhouse as they scored an incredible 381 goals as four players (Bobby Hull, Anders Hedberg, Ulf Nilsson, and Rookie of the Year Kent Nilsson) topped the 100-point mark. Hedberg would make history scoring 50 goals in 47 games to top the record set by Hull and Maurice Richard. Powered by the offensive explosion the Jets would finish atop the WHA with a solid 50-28-2 record. In the playoffs the Jets would knock off the Birmingham Bulls to reach their third straight WHA AVCO Cup Final. In the finals the Jets would continue to dominate as they won their second AVCO Cup in three years by sweeping the New England Whalers in four straight games.
1978/79: Coming off their AVCO Cup Championship the Jets would be raided by the NHL’s New York Rangers who signed Anders Hedberg and Ulf Nilsson. However, despite the loss of two key players the Jets would finish in third place with a record of 39-35-6. In the playoffs the Jets would sweep the Quebec Nordiques in four straight to make it to the AVCO Cup Finals. In the AVCO Cup Finals the Jets would beat the Edmonton Oilers led by Rookie of the Year Wayne Gretzky in six games. The Jets ended the series with a dominating 7-3 win on May 20th to win their third AVCO Cup in four years. It would end up being the final WHA game ever as the league folded. However, the Jets would be among four teams, joined by the Oilers, Nordiques, and New England Whalers that would be invited to join the NHL. In the WHA’s seven year existence the Jets would claim a record three AVCO Cups, while playing in the finals five times.
©MMXIII Tank Productions. Stats researched by Frank Fleming, all information, and team names are property of the World Hockey Association. This site is not affiliated with the WInnipeg Jets or the WHA. This site is maintained for research purposes only. All logos used on this page were from Chris Creamer’s Sports Logos Page.
Page created on August 21, 2013. Last updated on August 21, 2013 at 12:50 am ET.